[BHS Etree] STUDENT ACTIVITIES: A Big Thank You to Holiday Meal and Staff Reception Donors

BHS etree bhs at lists.lmi.net
Sun Feb 5 10:02:25 PST 2012

PLEASE do not reply to this email, contact Chris Young, chrisyoung at berkeley.net

Dear Parents and BHS Community Members,

I write to express deepest gratitudes for your tremendously generous support of our recent major events, the 31st Annual Holiday Meal, and our 1st Annual Staff Appreciation Reception.  As well, I'd like to give you some details on each event:

HOLIDAY MEAL - December 10, 2011

At the Holiday Meal we served over 330 people, offered seconds and take-aways, and gave the few leftovers we had to the Daily Bread Project.  We estimate that over 600 meals were served while guests were treated to live music, table service, and a very festive atmosphere.  I want to point out that generous donations this year helped us not to give just an ordinary meal, but one that was largely organic and included fresh in place of canned vegetables.  Just as impressively we gave over 2000 essential items to the local homeless and hungry - toiletries, blankets, jackets, shoes, books, toys and other clothing.  In addition, we were able to donate over 600 pounds of canned food to the Alameda County Food Bank.  

Also importantly, over 130 students, parents, and staff volunteered at this event.  When students participate in a service event like this it has real effects on their consciousness and values that often translate into action.  For example, the Homeless Support Club was started last year by students who understood that the homeless and hungry struggle year round, not just through the holidays.  This inspiring group of teenagers regularly distributes food and essential items to our struggling community members, and acts with wonderfully creative compassion such as giving Valentine's Day cards to those living on the streets and in shelters.  See "Berkeley High Clubs" under "Students" at bhs.berkeleyschools.net for at least 30-40 clubs that have a service, social, or environmental issue focus - a great way for your student to be further involved at BHS and develop character (if the listings are not yet up please check again in a few days).    

Finally, some of you may have received hand-written thank you cards from our student leaders.  If we didn't get one to you it was because we weren't able to identify your BHS student so she/he could take it home.  We apologize for that shortcoming but please know you ARE appreciated!  


The first annual staff appreciation reception was a smashing success.  Over 200 staff members, partners and children attended and were treated to a much deserved afternoon of live music by a BHS Jazz Ensemble, appreciation speeches by students, fun awards with prizes such as "Shiniest Head" or "Most Likely to Save a Kitten from a Burning Building", the gift of a pen with a customized thank you message on it, and a delectable array of food and drink all generously provided by . . . YOU.  Moreover, many toasts were made amongst the staff, boosting morale and camaraderie.  

It's not easy teaching or working otherwise at Berkeley High School, and sadly we even lose some great educators year to year sometimes because of high stress or lack of connectedness to the community.  Thus events like this are actually critical to the effectiveness of the BHS staff in serving all of our students.  The prevailing research shows that teacher quality is the primary factor in student achievement.  Happier, more connected teachers and staff are more likely to invest more in their jobs and be better for students.  It's ALL connected! 

So a BIG thank you to the dozens of donors who contributed food, drink, money, or time as volunteers to this special event. This past week the student leaders and I have been bombarded with appreciation from the campus gardener (who says he's never been acknowledged in such a way) to safety officers, from teachers and administrators.  Noticeably more staff were smiling and saying hello than through the average week.  This heightened level of esprit de corps and sense of community would not be possible without your contributions.  

Inspired by your altruism and with great gratitude,

Chris Young
Director of Student Activities
Berkeley High School

Pat Anderson, Diane Douglas, Marguerite Fa-Kaji and Lisa Sibony are the parent-volunteer facilitators of the etree; please direct any questions to them at bhs-owner at lmi.net. 
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